It is a rather well-known fact that the Church in the Philippines – bound to follow and live the normative observances of the Latin Rite – has a Clergy all members of which are unconditionally committed to observe continence in their life and are thus bound to obey the Law of Celibacy for life as well. In other words, Priests are solemnly committed to live a continent-celibate life until death. This is the mandate to every Priest. This is the law for all Priests. And the assumption akin to certitude is that when they submit themselves for Ordination to the Priesthood, they formally accept and bound themselves to live a continent and celibate life until death does take them.
It is no secret that every now and then, there is this or that Priest who “falls” for having violated his solemn promise to continence which means purity of life and/or consequently violated as well, his equally solemn pledge to celibacy which in turn means his formally and actually living single, a bachelor or celibate for a lifetime – as an offering to God and in service to His People with temporal as well as spiritual needs, with lives therefore lived here and now as well as hereafter and beyond.
The said life of continence and state of celibacy are normative realities that are taught and explained, followed and learned, accepted and lived during all the some eight to fifteen years of basic and advanced Seminary formation. More. Once someone is ordained a Priest, he undergoes regular seminars, monthly recollections plus yearly Holy Retreats in order to continuously help him observe continence and to faithfully live a celibate life. This is not to mention the Breviary he prays several times a day, the Spiritual Directions he undergoes every now and then – all intended to help him unconditionally live his continent life and consistently observe his celibate living.
The serious commitment to continence plus the solemn profession of celibacy by Priests – in following the life of Christ, the continent and celibate High Priest – have relevance not only for his dedication to the ministry with supernatural impact but also for his readiness and availability in attending to people with material needs in the temporal order.
But sad to say, these and those “fallen” Priests who violated their continence and/or celibacy and who are therefore out of the ministry – together and with the prodding and collaboration with some people – have been long since clamoring or demanding even, the abrogation of the Law of Celibacy. Their clamor and demand at times are reported by tri-media as well as disseminated by the social media. So is it that after a long, serious study and tedious process, it is said that the competent Church authority has finally acceded to the demand of the said “ex” Priest to be allowed to get married in order to thereafter resume their active priestly ministry.
The decision of the Church authority concerned is formally written down as follows: “Priests may get married on condition that they are at least 91 years old and have parental consent.” (Joke only!)